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What is a Power Amplifier?

The need for a great power amplifier in a music system cannot be overstated. Whether you are listening to a small setup or a large multi-channel system, dedicated power amplifiers supply the output power responsible for driving your speakers—which are never any better than the signal they’re fed. Unlike integrated amplifiers, in which a preamplifier section shares the same chassis as the power amplifier, a standalone power amp focuses on one task: Taking a single input and amplifying it for your speakers. As a result, they traditionally feature lower noise, optimal layout patterns, and shorter signal paths, all of which translate into better sound.

Key music-reproduction factors such as dynamics, openness, imaging, tone, and transparency are directly tied to your amplifier’s abilities. Inside every amplifier, the specific orientation of circuitry and layout relate to its sonic capabilities. Some amplifiers also have patented features that further contribute to its aptitude or serve as protective devices for your speakers. Every amplifier also has measured specifications—figures that convey watts per channel (Wpc), harmonic distortion, dynamic headroom, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), crosstalk, and frequency response. All factor into the overall sound and a particular amplifier’s compatibility with your loudspeakers’ sensitivity ratings. Fortunately, Music Direct understands the ins and outs of all these potentially complex issues. We can assist you in selecting an amplifier that will best pair with your existing setup or help you build a new system around a reference unit.

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